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Nets Barely Touch Iraqi Constitution, Recall Bush's "Combat Over" --10/26/2005


1. Nets Barely Touch Iraqi Constitution, Recall Bush's "Combat Over"
An overwhelming 79 percent of Iraqis, who risked their lives just over a week ago to cast their ballot, voted in favor of the nation's new constitution, but you'd have missed it if you sneezed during Tuesday's CBS Evening News or ABC's World News Tonight. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer delivered only this single sentence -- "Iraq's government announced today that voters did approve the country's new constitution in this month's referendum" -- before moving on to a full story about the 2,000th death of U.S. servicemen in Iraq, a piece he could not resist introducing without adding this snide aside: "More than 90 percent of the 2,000 who died in the war have died since the President declared major combat was at an end in May 2003." On ABC, which had time for a full piece from Terry Moran about the "potentially huge" story of Vice President Cheney's supposed role in the Plame case, anchor Elizabeth Vargas briefly noted how "in Iraq today, there was a milestone on the road to democracy: The official results show that a new constitution was ratified by an overwhelming margin." That was it for the Iraqi constitution. ABC led with, as Vargas put it, the "terrible milestone" of 2,000 killed in Iraq.

2. Olbermann Cues Up Franken's "Execution" Line, Defames MRC Chief
Cued up by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday's Countdown, Al Franken repeated the same "joke" he told on Letterman and the Today show about how he's "worried" that "Rove and Libby and others...may be executed." Olbermann then quipped: "But it would be a hell of a story for cable news." To which Franken chipped in to laughter from Olbermann: "It would. Especially if it got to the President and the Vice President because, and I think there should be a constitutional amendment passed as soon as possible that we can't execute either a sitting or recently-impeached President and Vice President." Olbermann picked up on a Monday item on the MRC's NewsBusters blog which highlighted how "in a 'comedy' skit for a promotional video at Amazon.com, Al Franken knees a self-described 'right-wing jerk' in the groin." After playing an excerpt from the video, Olbermann didn't mention the name "NewsBusters," but made his target clear as he denigrated the MRC's President: "One of the blogs affiliated with noted media watcher Brent Bozell, or as he's sometimes known, 'Red Beard the Pirate,' asks, 'Is there a theme of violence in Al Franken's work?'" with audio/video

3. Letterman's "Top Ten Ways to Cheer Up George W. Bush"
From Tuesday's Late Show, Letterman's "Top Ten Ways to Cheer Up George W. Bush."


Nets Barely Touch Iraqi Constitution,
Recall Bush's "Combat Over"

An overwhelming 79 percent of Iraqis, who risked their lives just over a week ago to cast their ballot, voted in favor of the nation's new constitution, but you'd have missed it if you sneezed during Tuesday's CBS Evening News or ABC's World News Tonight. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer delivered only this single sentence -- "Iraq's government announced today that voters did approve the country's new constitution in this month's referendum" -- before moving on to a full story about the 2,000th death of U.S. servicemen in Iraq, a piece he could not resist introducing without adding this snide aside: "More than 90 percent of the 2,000 who died in the war have died since the President declared major combat was at an end in May 2003."

On ABC, which had time for a full piece from Terry Moran about the "potentially huge" story of Vice President Cheney's supposed role in the Plame case, anchor Elizabeth Vargas briefly noted how "in Iraq today, there was a milestone on the road to democracy: The official results show that a new constitution was ratified by an overwhelming margin." That was it for the Iraqi constitution. ABC led with, as Vargas put it, the "terrible milestone" of 2,000 killed in Iraq. Viewers then saw two stories: Martha Raddatz on the anguish of Army medical personnel and Barbara Pinto on parents in an Ohio town who have lost sons in Iraq.

The NBC Nightly News devoted a full story to the 2,000 "milestone" followed by a piece from Iraq which began with the overwhelming approval of the constitution by 79 percent, what reporter Richard Engel called "a historic milestone" before he moved on to the ongoing violence and how "there are some bright spots," such as more jobs.

[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Bob Schieffer introduced October 25 CBS Evening News coverage, as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
"Iraq's government announced today that voters did approve the country's new constitution in this month's referendum. The sad marker that we all dreaded, but knew was coming, came today. The deaths of three more American service members brought the total U.S. dead in the war to 2,000. President Bush talked about the deaths during a speech to military wives."
George W. Bush, in speech: "A time of war is a time for sacrifice, and the greatest burden falls on our military families. We've lost some of our nation's finest men and women in the war on terror. Each of these men and women left grieving families and left loved ones back home."
Schieffer: "More than 90 percent of the 2,000 who died in the war have died since the President declared major combat was at an end in May 2003, which brings us to our next report. Usually we salute fallen heroes during this part of our broadcast, but tonight, we're going to look at the impact a military death can have on not just a family, but an entire community. Here is national security correspondent David Martin."

Martin delivered a piece about the impact of deaths on small towns, particularly one on Georgia.

Olbermann Cues Up Franken's "Execution"
Line, Defames MRC Chief

Cued up by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday's Countdown, Al Franken repeated the same "joke" he told on Letterman and the Today show about how he's "worried" that "Rove and Libby and others...may be executed." Olbermann then quipped: "But it would be a hell of a story for cable news."


Listen to MP3 audio clip
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Video

To which Franken chipped in to laughter from Olbermann: "It would. Especially if it got to the President and the Vice President because, and I think there should be a constitutional amendment passed as soon as possible that we can't execute either a sitting or recently-impeached President and Vice President." Olbermann picked up on a Monday item on the MRC's NewsBusters blog which highlighted how "in a 'comedy' skit for a promotional video at Amazon.com, Al Franken knees a self-described 'right-wing jerk' in the groin." After playing an excerpt from the video, Olbermann didn't mention the name "NewsBusters," but made his target clear as he denigrated the MRC's President: "One of the blogs affiliated with noted media watcher Brent Bozell, or as he's sometimes known, 'Red Beard the Pirate,' asks, 'Is there a theme of violence in Al Franken's work?'"

[This item was posted Tuesday night, with video, on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog. To watch the remarks from Olbermann and Franken, in either RealPlayer or Windows Media formats, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Monday and Tuesday CyberAlert items recounted Franken's earlier deliveries of his same line about executions:

# October 24 CyberAlert: "And so basically, what it looks like is going to happen is that Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed" because "outing a CIA agent is treason," left-wing author and radio talk show host Al Franken asserted Friday night, to audience laughter, on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman. Franken qualified his hard-edged satire: "Yeah. And I don't know how I feel about it because I'm basically against the death penalty, but they are going to be executed it looks like." Franken later suggested that President Bush is at risk of receiving the same punishment, since Karl Rove likely told him what he did, but he added a caveat: "I think, by the way, that we should never ever, ever, ever execute a sitting President." For more and one video clip, see: www.mediaresearch.org

Or, for the NewsBusters.org posting, with two video clips: newsbusters.org

# October 25 CyberAlert: On Tuesday's Today, at 8:52am, Al Franken was on to promote his new book The Truth (with Jokes) and repeated his twisted quip from Friday's Late Show with David Letterman in which he predicted that Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby will be "executed" for treason. Franken's "joke," that "George H.W. Bush, the President's father, said...that outing a CIA agent is treason. I agree. So I think that Rove and Libby will be executed," drew laughter from Matt Lauer and those in the Today show studio. See: www.mediaresearch.org

Or, for the NewsBusters.org posting, with video: newsbusters.org

A transcript of most of the October 25 Countdown interview, as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth who corrected the closed-captioning against the video:

Keith Olbermann: "'When I despair,' said the pacifist and revolutionary Mahatma Gandhi, 'I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and, for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall.' Think of it: Always. Our number two story in the Countdown, perhaps in the last two years, those who have opposed the war in Iraq or the current administration or both have fallen back on Gandhi's words. Well, his, or those of my next guest: Al Franken. Consider: The Vice President and former CIA director now implicated in the CIA leak investigation, Scooter Libby and Karl Rove may be on the eve of indictment or resignation or both, and there's a Tom DeLay mugshot and a Bill Frist SEC investigation. Now, here to tell us 'I told you so,' is the author of a book officially on sale for the first time, by remarkable coincidence, just today, The Truth (with Jokes) by Al Franken. Good evening, Al. Thanks for coming on."
Al Franken, from another location: "Thank you, Keith."
Olbermann: "Well, let's dive right in. The way the CIA leak investigation is playing out must really have shaken your faith in four men who I know are your personal heroes: Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush."
Al Franken: "Well, you know, what worries me about this is that, I mean, this does follow a pattern with Rove, which is that he has through the years smeared people. But this is a, this is outing a CIA agent, which George H.W. Bush, the President's father who headed the CIA, said was treason. And what I'm worried about is that that might be the indictments, and that Rove and Libby and others may face, may be executed."
Olbermann: "Yeah."
Franken: "That's what I'm worried about. And I think that, I'm against the death penalty."
Olbermann: "But it would be a hell of a story for cable news."
Franken: "It would. Especially if it got to the President and the Vice President-" [Olbermann laughs]
Franken: "-because, and I think there should be a constitutional amendment passed as soon as possible that we can't execute either a sitting or recently-impeached President and Vice President."
Olbermann: "Well, I mean, there have been signs of life. We've reviewed the videotapes, and there are clearly signs of life in both of them, so that would just be a horrific thing to have happen."
Franken: "Well, it would be demoralizing, don't you think?"
Olbermann: "With the new book, The Truth (with Jokes), we already have some controversy. We found a very unusual, some might say disturbing, video on the Web. And I thought you should get a chance to respond to this, but let's play the tape first."
Franken: "Okay."

START Amazon's video clip:
Unidentified man: "I'm a big fan. I gave five stars, and I've already ordered five copies of The Truth (with Jokes)."
Franken: "Well, thank you. Now, you must be Scott from Colorado."
Scott: "Yes."
Franken: "And how many stars did you give Lies?
Scott: "One."
Franken: "Really? You didn't like it?"
Scott: "I didn't read it. I'm just a right-wing jerk. That's why I said in my review that you want the terrorists to win."
Franken: "Really?"
Scott: "And that you've never been funny."
Franken: "Okay, that's it." [Franken kicks Scott character in groin]
Franken: "Ah, that felt great. Thanks, Amazon."
END video clip

Olbermann: "Now, as one of the blogs affiliated with noted media watcher Brent Bozell, or as he's sometimes known, 'Red Beard the Pirate,' asks, 'Is there a theme of violence in Al Franken's work?'" [Franken laughs] Now, apart from the infamous scuffle that day on Jeopardy with Alex Trebek-"
Franken: "Yes."
Olbermann: "-is there a theme of violence in your work, sir?"
Franken: "I don't think so. Brent, I mean, this is great. And what it is, it has steered all these people to Amazon, especially like right-wing people who are going like, 'Count me out, Amazon, from ever,' well, you know, 'going into your Web site again.'"
Olbermann: "Yeah."
Franken: "'Violence isn't funny.' I mean, this would be like showing The Terminator and saying, 'Is Arnold Schwarzenegger like killing a lot of people?' This was obviously what it is. It's a video that we made for Amazon at, you know, and it's a fantasy of every author who goes on, has a book and is reviewed on Amazon-"
Olbermann: "By anybody who comes along and just has a computer modem."
Franken: "-and gives you a one, not having read the book."

For the NewsBusters item Olbermann quoted: newsbusters.org

A bit later, Franken dismissed the claim there's any liberal bias in the mainstream media:
Olbermann: "And that gets us back, as a last point, to where I started this segment. You were good enough to come on this newscast with me late in the summer of 2003 -- it was August or September -- and by coincidence, either the next day or the day before, Janeane Garofalo had been a guest on the newscast. And I got called into a vice president's office here and told, 'Hey, we don't mind you interviewing these guys, but should you really have put liberals on on consecutive nights?' That's just over two years ago."
Franken: "Yeah."
Olbermann: "Al, can you believe that the country was actually at that point that recently?"
Franken: "I can believe that, and I can believe, see, that, when you hear that there's this liberal bias to the mainstream media, I mean, you're attesting to the fact that a vice president at MSNBC was, you know, two nights in a row to have two liberals if you can, if you, and this is a crude way to do it, but if you, if you put, divide people into liberals and conservatives, the chances of that are one-half. I mean, essentially, aren't they? Or are they one-quarter? I guess it's one-quarter that you would have two of any kind-"
Olbermann: "Right, right."
Franken: "-on two consecutive nights. But over the span of, how many years have you been on now?"
Olbermann: "This is our, we're at about two and a half now."
Franken: "Okay, after two and a half years, you'd think that might happen a few times."
Olbermann: "Yeah. Thank goodness we have steered out of that time, and, Al Franken's new book is The Truth (with Jokes), and the prospect of another Fox lawsuit has been obviated because the cover is one big picture of him. Thank you, Al. All the best."
Franken: "Thanks, Keith."

Letterman's "Top Ten Ways to Cheer Up
George W. Bush"

From the October 25 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways to Cheer Up George W. Bush." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. "Fully loaded Tex-Mex fixins bar at every cabinet meeting"

9. "Use wacky sound effects for weekly radio addresses"

8. "Replace Oval Office bust of Theodore Roosevelt with bust of Kenny Rogers"

7. "Remind him it's only 6 weeks until 'The Dukes of Hazzard' comes out on DVD"

6. "Talk to him about things he holds dear: Health, Family, Shady Halliburton Contracts"

5. "Speechwriters sprinkle in the occasional 'You might be a redneck if...' joke"

4. "Two words: Free Gum"

3. "Get Air Force One pimped"

2. "Surprise him with invasion plans for every country on Earth"

1. "Remind him in a few years, Iraq will be Hillary's mess"

-- Brent Baker